Scrutinizing the evidence for breast
cancer procedures and treatments
Supplement Strategies - Vitamin C

    Many cancer patients take 1,000 mg Vitamin C per day. Studies show
    that while this dosage may be sufficient for a healthy patient,
    optimal dosing for a cancer patient may be far higher. Vitamin C
    is always used with other nutrients.

    Vitamin C (ascorbic acid),  a water-soluble vitamin that must
    be replenished in the body,  is found in fruits and leafy
    vegetables.  Vitamin C helps to support our immune system,
    and is an antioxidant having reducing power that protects
    against  free radical damage.

    Practitioners all over the world use intravenous infusions of ascorbate in doses as
    high as 60-100 grams for cancer treatment.  Due to digestive processes, oral
    doses of vitamin C can never be as high in the blood as compared to comparable
    IV doses of vitamin C.  Caution:  People of Mediterranean descent should be
    screened for a genetic defect - glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase - that may
    make these high doses of IV vitamin C lethal in them.

    March 31, 2006 e-mail communication with Steve Hickey, PhD,

    "There are several groups of scientists trying to get proper clinical trials of
    ascorbate in cancer underway.  There are problems obtaining funding and also
    with institutions willing to host the studies.  My own concern is that killing and
    controlling cancer is an urgent practical matter (ask a patient).  Vitamin C on its own
    is far less effective than when it is combined with a redox cycling agent, such as
    lipoic acid or vitamin K.  Studying vitamin C on its own is essential, but the research
    should include a group or groups on these combinations."  (Dr. Steve Hickey,
    Co-author Cancer Nutrition and Survival.)

  • Lower Levels of Vitamins C, E, and Selenium in Breast Cancer Patients

    A 2005 study was conducted to determine the status of certain nutrients in
    breast cancer patients and controls.  The study found that the mean vitamin C
    as well as vitamin E and selenium levels were lower in breast cancer patients
    than in healthy patients.  There was a 84% lower risk of breast cancer if the
    level of vitamin C was increased by 1 unit.  (See Singh P et al., Association
    Between Breast Cancer and vitamin C, vitamin E and Selenium Levels:  
    Results of a Case-Control Study in India, Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 2005.)

  • IV Vitamin C May be a Pro-Drug For Cancer

    In another 2005 study, an NIH Vitamin C study,  a high dose of  
    vitamin C, administered to 10 cancer and 4 normal human cell types,
    effectively killed 5 of the cancer lines and did not affect the normal cells.  
    Cancer cell death was absolutely dependent on the formation of hydrogen
    peroxide, a chemical that can kill cancer cells. Therefore, intravenous (IV)
    vitamin C may be a pharmacologic pro-drug for the formation of hydrogen
    peroxide. ( See Chen Q et al., Pharmacologic Ascorbic Acid Concentrations
    Selectively Kill Cancer Cells:  Action As A Pro-Drug To Deliver Hydrogen
    Peroxide To Tissues, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2005.)

  • 3 Advanced Cancer Patients, Given High Vitamin C, Lived Longer

    In a March 2006 study, three case studies of patients with advanced cancer,
    who were given high doses of intravenous vitamin C and lived longer than
    expected,  were analyzed in accordance with the National Cancer Institute's
    Best Case Series Guidelines.The fact that the patients had unexpectedly long
    survival times increases the clinical plausibility that vitamin C may have a
    benefit.  It is now known that high-dose intravenous - but not oral vitamin C
    therapy - results in plasma concentrations of about 14,000 micromole per liter.
    Oral doses result in plasma concentrations of at best 220 micromole per liter.
    The high-dose IV levels of vitamin C are toxic to some cancer cells, but not to
    normal cells.  This study concludes that the role of high-dose intravenous
    vitamin C therapy in cancer treatment should be reassessed. (See Padayatty J
    et al., Intravenously Administered Vitamin C As Cancer Therapy: Three Cases,
    CMAJ 2006.)

    (For further information about vitamin C, go to The Vitamin C Foundation,, headed by Owen Fonorow).




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    Web page updated March 3, 2012